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I have an international flight from Los Angeles airport (LAX). I bought a laptop and tablet in the USA, and I wanted to know if I can get a tax refund. I know that the US doesn't have VAT, but I don't know about sales tax. Is it possible to get a refund?

  • Related: travel.stackexchange.com/a/6769/1362 – Nate Eldredge Dec 18 '14 at 21:14
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    While there is no way to get the sales tax back at the airport, it should be possible to save the tax at the time of the initial purchase by having the store ship the goods to Australia right then. Generally speaking, sales tax (if any) is due in the state where the buyer lives. – Andrew Lazarus Apr 11 '16 at 21:00
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Page 5, section 8 of this California Board of Equalization newsletter has the answer:

  1. Items Sold to Residents of a Foreign Country or Another State

We have received complaints from foreign buyers that they were incorrectly advised by retailers that they could receive a refund of the sales tax on items they purchased and picked up in California. They were told they could do this by presenting their receipts at the airport. Although many countries have such a provision for foreign travelers, California does not.

Nor does California have this provision for residents of other states. Consequently, if foreign tourists ask about a refund of tax paid on purchases, you should inform them that tax applies to merchandise delivered in California regardless of its ultimate destination.

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